Alumni Showcase: Kelsey Paumer ('11)
As a high schooler, Kelsey Paumer (‘11) made an appointment to meet with Morningside Admissions at a college fair and, from there, decided to pursue her undergraduate degree as a Mustang.
“From the moment I stepped onto Morningside’s campus, I was sold. Because I came from a really small town, I wanted a bit of a smaller school to be sure I would adjust appropriately. Heading to UNL or even UNO was not in the picture for me, and I wanted to stay close to family. Morningside was the perfect compromise,” Paumer said.
From the beginning of her college experience, Paumer found herself immersed in the many activities the school offered. Some of her most cherished memories come from her time with Sigma Tau Delta, Palmer Research Symposium, and the Video Game Research Lab.
“I loved all aspects of researching, writing, and presenting. Everyone involved worked so well as a team, despite the exhaustion in the preparation for events,” Paumer said. “I had a lot of delirious, late-night laughs with some of my closest friends during my time at Morningside.”
Her involvement in these various activities prepared the English and Psychology double major for her future career as an attorney. The skills she fostered in college and brought with her to the professional world include time management and organization. On top of these, she has found both majors to set a foundation for how she approaches literature and facts.
“In my opinion, the best attorneys are ones who are responsive, organized, and analytical,” Paumer said. “I learned very quickly how to break down complicated texts and summarize them efficiently during my years as an English major (thank you, Jen Peterson and Leslie Werden). And, as for psychology, I learned to separate what facts were significant and what facts weren’t. Not to mention, I became a much better public speaker thanks to the many presentations required for class and/or symposiums as an English/Psych major.”
Her diligent work has led to her recently being announced as partner for Prentiss Grant LLC, sharing the partnership with Paul Prentiss and Joe Grant. Specifically, Paumer practices in workers’ compensation defense, representing employers and insurance companies to defend a claim.
“I really act as a mediator; injured workers always want more than they should get, and insurance companies always want to pay less than they should. It’s my job to work with opposing counsel and come to a reasonable compromise between the two,” Paumer said.
Paumer’s pursuit for success as an attorney began when she was just a child when she would watch her mother work as a pseudo paralegal in Neligh, Nebraska. Interestingly enough, her mother discouraged her from going to law school. Even though the career provided stability, her mother worried that Paumer would experience burnout.
“Heading into my first year of college, I was torn. However, by my junior year, I knew I needed to go for myself. I have been fortunate to find passion in a really small sector of the law and, because of the specificity of my work, I have been able to balance my work and personal life really well,” Paumer said. “I think my mom would now admit she was wrong about law school – which never happens!”
Paumer finds joy in the work she does. Her favorite parts are dissecting a file, researching case law, and writing persuasive arguments. Because of the specialized area of law and small number of people that practice in the same area, she is also able to develop strong relationships with people.
“I just so happen to work for a really supportive, wonderful group of people, which makes getting up every morning really easy,” Paumer said.
The biggest struggle for her is leaving her work at work. As a new attorney, she had to quickly set boundaries for her clients and following the birth of her son, Rhodes, in March 2019, these boundaries were more necessary than ever.
“Additionally, it is not uncommon in my line of work for a client to simply not like your approach to a file and move on to someone else. I took those moves really hard in the beginning of my career; however, just like the rest of the world, not everyone will like you or your work. The sooner you accept that reality, the better,” Paumer said.
For the upcoming year, Paumer hopes that she can be a successful partner at her firm, finding passion in her work everyday. As much she prioritizes her work life, she hopes to continue prioritizing her personal life and being present for her family. Paumer also hopes to have a sunroom in her home one day.
Her advice to students and young alumni just starting to navigate their professional lives is that finding your passion will not be linear and nothing in life really is.
“If you find yourself struggling to understand where you are supposed to be or where you are supposed to go, good. It means you’re really considering what you want your future to look like. I encourage you to explore all avenues, participate in as many activities as you can, stay up late, make mistakes, and enjoy every minute of the flexibility and uncertainty college allows you to have,” Paumer said.